Francisco Rodríguez (economist)

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Francisco Rodríguez
InstitutionTorino Capital LLC, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, United Nations Human Development Report Office, Wesleyan University
Alma materHarvard University, Andrés Bello Catholic University

Francisco R. Rodríguez is a Venezuelan economist and the Chief Economist at Torino Capital LLC.[1][2] He has taught economics and Latin American studies at University of Maryland at College Park and Wesleyan University. From 2000 to 2004, he served as the head of the Office of Economic and Financial Advisory of the Venezuelan National Assembly (Spanish: Oficina de Asesoría Económica y Financiera de Asamblea Nacional)[3] during the presidency of Hugo Chávez.

Rodríguez received an M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University, and an undergraduate degree in economics from Venezuela's Universidad Católica Andrés Bello.[4] He has been an associate editor of Economía: Journal of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association since 2008.[4]

Academic contributions[edit]

Rodríguez has written more than 40 papers on economic growth, development economics, political economy and the Venezuelan economy. These include "Trade Policy and Economic Growth: A Skeptic's Guide to the Cross-National Evidence" (joint with Dani Rodrik),[5] "Why Do Resource-Abundant Economies Grow More Slowly?" (joint with Jeffrey Sachs),[6] "Inequality, Redistribution and Rent-Seeking"[7] and "Cleaning Up the Kitchen Sink:Specification tests and average derivative estimators for growth econometrics" [8] (joint with Cameron Shelton). He has also co-edited, jointly with Ricardo Hausmann, the book Venezuela Before Chávez: Anatomy of an Economic Collapse.[9]

Chávez administration[edit]

Rodríguez was an early supporter of the Chávez administration. In 2000, he was elected with the support of both opposition and government parties to head the National Assembly's Economic and Financial Advisory Office. Under his tenure, the office produced several reports that were critical of official economic policy, eventually leading to his ouster by the pro-government majority in March 2004. His differences with chavismo as well as with Venezuela's opposition were set out in a number of articles published after he returned to academia at Wesleyan University in 2005.[10] His article, "An Empty Revolution: The Unfulfilled Promises of Hugo Chávez", was published in Foreign Affairs,[11] a podcast "Rodriguez: Venezuela Nationalizations Might Be A 'Smokescreen'" was hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations,[12] and he has been quoted a number of times in media reports on the Chávez administration.[10] He also published several assessments of Chávez-era social end economic policies in academic journals, including "Freed from Illiteracy? A Closer Look at Venezuela´s Misión Robinson Literacy Campaign" [13] and "The price of political opposition: Evidence from Venezuela's Maisanta".[14]

This extract from his Foreign Affairs article illustrates Rodríguez's differences with the Chávez administration:

In September 2000, I left American academia to take over a research team with functions broadly similar to those of the U.S. Congressional Budget Office. I had high expectations for Chávez's government and was excited at the possibility of working in an administration that promised to focus on fighting poverty and inequality. But I quickly discovered how large the gap was between the government's rhetoric and the reality of its political priorities.

Soon after joining the National Assembly, I clashed with the administration over underfunding of [the program] which had been created by Chávez to coordinate the distribution of resources to antipoverty programs. The law establishing the fund included a special provision to ensure that it would benefit from rising oil revenues. But when oil revenues started to go up, the Finance Ministry ignored the provision ... When my office pointed out this inconsistency, the Finance Ministry came up with [a] creative accounting gimmick ... [whose] effect was to direct resources away from the poor even as oil profits were surging.

— Francisco Rodríguez, An Empty Revolution: The Unfulfilled Promises of Hugo Chávez, Foreign Affairs March/April 2008.[11]

DePaul University[15] and the Financial Times[16] have hosted discussions focused on the debate over Chávez's economic policies between Mark Weisbrot and Rodríguez.[17][18]

UNDP (2008-2011)[edit]

In 2008, Rodríguez became the Head of Research of the United Nations Human Development Report Office.[19] He coordinated the research for three influential reports: Overcoming barriers: Human mobility and development [20] The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development[21] and Sustainability and Equity: A Better future for All.[22]

Bank of America (2011-2016)[edit]

Rodríguez joined Bank of America Merrill Lynch in August 2011 as Chief Andean Economist, covering the economies of Colombia, Peru and Venezuela. In 2012 he successfully called the Venezuelan presidential elections with an out-of-consensus prediction that Chávez would be re-elected by a comfortable margin.[23] He has argued that Venezuela carried out an external adjustment via quantities instead of prices during the Maduro administration, making the potential output and inflationary costs of internal price adjustment lower than typically believed.[24] In September 2014 he responded to a Project Syndicate article by Ricardo Hausmann and Miguel Angel Santos which had criticized the Maduro administration for continuing to honor debt service despite pervasive scarcities of basic goods.[25] In his response, Rodríguez argued that scarcity was driven by relative price distortions and should be addressed by loosening the country's tight price and exchange controls rather than defaulting on its debt.[26] He left Bank of America in early 2016.

Torino Capital (present)[edit]

Rodriguez joined Torino Capital in July 2016 as its Chief Economist.


  1. ^ Rodríguez, Francisco R.; Hausmann, Ricardo (2014). Venezuela Before Chávez: Anatomy of an Economic Collapse. Penn State Press. ISBN 9780271064642.
  2. ^ Rodríguez, Francisco (12 September 2014). "Guest post: why Venezuela should not default". Financial Times. Retrieved 17 September 2014. By Francisco Rodríguez of Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  3. ^ (in Spanish) (19 June 2001) Esta semana presentan la Ley Orgánica de la Administración Pública, National Assembly of Venezuela
  4. ^ a b Francisco R. Rodríguez, Wesleyan University, Retrieved on February 15, 2010.
  5. ^ NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2000
  6. ^ Rodriguez, Francisco; Sachs, Jeffrey D. (1999). Journal of Economic Growth. 4 (3): 277–303. doi:10.1023/A:1009876618968. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ Rodríguez, Francisco (1 November 2004). "Inequality, Redistribution, and Rent-Seeking". Economics and Politics. 16 (3): 287–320. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0343.2004.00141.x.
  8. ^ Rodríguez, Francisco; Shelton, Cameron A. (2013). "Cleaning up the kitchen sink: Specification tests and average derivative estimators for growth econometrics". Journal of Macroeconomics. 38: 260–273. doi:10.1016/j.jmacro.2013.07.009.
  9. ^ Ricardo Hausmann and Francisco R. Rodríguez, ed. (2014). Venezuela Before Chávez: Anatomy of an Economic Collapse. ISBN 978-0-271-05631-9.
  10. ^ a b Francisco R. Rodríguez, Wesleyan University, Retrieved on February 15, 2010.
  11. ^ a b Rodríguez, Francisco (March/April 2008). "An Empty Revolution: The Unfulfilled Promises of Hugo Chávez". Foreign Affairs.
  12. ^ Rodríguez, Francisco (January 16, 2007)."Rodriguez: Venezuela Nationalizations Might Be A 'Smokescreen'", Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved on February 15, 2010.
  13. ^ Ortega, Daniel; Rodríguez, Francisco (1 January 2008). "Freed from Illiteracy? A Closer Look at Venezuela's Misión Robinson Literacy Campaign". Economic Development and Cultural Change. 57 (1): 467–470. doi:10.1086/590461. JSTOR 590461.
  14. ^ Hsieh, Chang-Tai; Miguel, Edward; Ortega, Daniel; Rodriguez, Francisco (1 April 2011). "The Price of Political Opposition: Evidence from Venezuela's Maisanta". American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. 3 (2): 196–214. doi:10.1257/app.3.2.196.
  15. ^ "PSC 349: Topics in World Politics: Latin American Political Economy" (PDF). De Paul University. Fall 2008. Retrieved February 15, 2010.
  16. ^ Ask the expert: Chávez and Venezuela. Financial Times, January 30, 2007.
  17. ^ Rodríguez, Francisco. "An Empty Revolution: The Unfulfilled Promises of Hugo Chávez". Foreign Affairs (March/April 2008).
    ** Weisbrot, Mark. An Empty Research Agenda: The Creation of Myths About Contemporary Venezuela. CEPR (March 2008). Retrieved 27 February 2010.
    *** Rodríguez, Francisco How Not to Defend the Revolution: Mark Weisbrot and the Misinterpretation of Venezuelan Evidence. Wesleyan University (25 March 2008). Retrieved 27 February 2010.
    **** Weisbrot, Mark How Not to Attack an Economist (and an Economy): Getting the Numbers Right CEPR (April 2008)
  18. ^ Ortega, Daniel and Francisco Rodríguez, Edward Miguel. "Freed from Illiteracy? A Closer Look at Venezuela's Robinson Literacy Campaign, Wesleyan University (October 2006)
    ** Rosnick, David and Mark Weisbrot . "Illiteracy" Revisited: What Ortega and Rodríguez Read in the Household Survey". CEPR (May 2008)
  19. ^ "Francisco R. Rodríguez, Head of Research Team". United Nations Human Development Report. United Nations. Archived from the original on July 7, 2010. Retrieved 22 June 2010.
  20. ^ "Human Development Report 2009 - Human Development Reports".
  21. ^ "Human Development Report 2010 - Human Development Reports".
  22. ^ "Human Development Report 2011 - Human Development Reports".
  23. ^ Xie, Ye; Cancel, Daniel. "Chavez Win Called by BofA Sparks Selloff as Barclays Flops".
  24. ^ Toro, Francisco (25 March 2014). "F-Rod Pitches a Rabo'e'Cochino".
  25. ^ Santos, Ricardo Hausmann and Miguel Angel (5 September 2014). "Should Venezuela Default?".
  26. ^ "Guest post: why Venezuela should not default".